11:11 a.m. ET, November 16, 2023
Israel is reportedly posting leaflets in parts of southern Gaza asking civilians to move towards shelters
From CNN’s Andrew Carey
With Israeli leaders declaring that northern Gaza, including Gaza City, is now under Israeli control, there are increasing indications that a ground offensive into the southern part of the Strip may be imminent.
A leaflet sent out Wednesday to communities east of Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, warned people living there to move and “go towards known shelters.”
The four communities – Al Qarrah, Khuza’a, Bani Suhaila and Absaan – sit close to the perimeter fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel, suggesting possible new points of intervention by Israeli forces seeking to take control of the south.
The director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which has staff in Gaza, suggested yesterday in a post on social media that members of his local team had seen the leaflet, and the Reuters news agency said it had spoken to people who had also seen it.
CNN is trying to reach contacts in the Khan Younis area who may have seen the leaflet themselves – but the effort is hindered by poor communication in the enclave.
Two days ago, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israeli forces had “control over the entire area above and below ground in the northern Gaza Strip.”
Yesterday, Gallant went further, telling a reporter that Israel’s ground operations “will last for many months — and will include both north and south (of the Gaza Strip). We will dismantle Hamas wherever it is.”
What aid organizations say: Aid organizations say any Israeli move into the southern part of the enclave could make an already poor humanitarian situation significantly worse.
The UN estimates that around 1.5 million people are now internally displaced in Gaza – almost three-quarters of the entire population – and most of them are in the south following Israel’s highly destructive air and ground campaign in the north.
More than 800,000 people have sought refuge in just over 150 of its shelters, “far more people than their intended capacity”, according to UN aid